William W. Langford biography

WILLIAM W. LANGFORD, son of one of the honored pioneers of Montague county, Texas, was born in Overton county, Tennessee, July 23, 1858. His parents, Thomas and Lizzie (Dillon) Langford, were both natives of Tennessee. Wylie Langford, his grandfather, went from Virginia at an early day to Tennessee and settled on what was then the frontier, where he engaged extensively in farming. Politically he was a Democrat and religiously a member of the Primitive Baptist church, and both in politics and religion his children and grandchildren have followed the example of their worthy ancestor. His children in order of birth were: Thomas, Mat, Barney, George and Betty.

Thomas Langford in his early manhood taught school and also carried on farming, and during the war of the rebellion he was a conscript officer. Being in a border state, he sustained heavy loss by the foraging of both armies, and when he returned home at the close of the war his property was in a dilapidated condition. He resumed farming and did some repairing, but the change in affairs at the old home made it undesirable, and in 1867 he sold out and moved over into Kentucky, where he remained two years. In 1869 he came to Texas, locating first in Denton county, where he remained three years. In 1872 he moved to Montague county, and settled in the vicinity of where Bonita has since been built. There were then but few settlers here. His first location was made on school land, which claim he subsequently sold, after which he bought a half section of land near by, which he developed into a good farm, where he passed the remaining years of his life, and where he died in June, 1882. After his location in Montague county he taught one term, but with that exception his whole time and attention was given to agricultural pursuits. He was an ardent Democrat. While in Tennessee he served as justice of the peace for a number of years and after his location in Montague county he filled the office of county commissioner. In his life he exemplified the teachings of his church, and his many estimable qualities won him the respect of all who knew him. His widow survived him until 1894. Her family, the Dillons, also were early settlers of Tennessee, and she was the sixth born of seven children, namely: Thomas, Squire, Eliza, Ade, Bird, Lizzie and Dicia. Thomas and Lizzie Langford were the parents of nine children: Jane, wife of G. Howard; George, a resident of Montague county; Samuel, who died at the age of twenty-one years; Nancy, wife of J. Howard; Bird, who has been twice married, first to Mr. Wakefield and after his death to a Mr. McAdams; William W., a resident of Bonita; Enoch, of Oklahoma; and Cash, a druggist of Bonita.

William W. Langford moved with his parents from Tennessee to Kentucky and then to Texas, being eleven years old when he landed in this state. In his father’s frontier home he grew to manhood, assisting in the improvement of the farm, and remaining a member of the home circle until 1883, when he married and settled on a farm near Bonita. Five years later he sold his farm. Then he bought another place on which he lived for nine years; bought and sold again, and finally, in August, 1899, purchased the farm on which he now lives, two hundred and eleven acres on Farmer’s Creek, seven miles east of Nocona. Only a few improvement had been made here at the time Mr. Langford came into possession of this property. He at once directed his energies to the task of development, with the result that he now has a commodious residence and good barn, and one hundred acres under cultivation, producing a diversity of crops. In connection with his brother Cash, Mr. Langford conducts a drug store at Bonita. He will continue to reside, however, at this country home, five miles from Bonita. Like his father and grandfather, he is a Democrat and a Baptist, being identified with the Missionary Baptists.

Mr. Langford married Miss Mittie M. Godley, a native of Louisiana, born June 1, 1864, daughter of James B. and Mirom (Simmons) Godley. Her parents, natives of Georgia, went to Louisiana in early life, where they were married and where Mr. Godley was a prominent planter, owning a number of slaves at the time the war of the rebellion came on. He served all through the war as a Confederate soldier, always in the front ranks, participating in many hotly contested battles. Returning home at the close of hostilities, he found his slaves freed and his property in a ruined condition. After remaining there a few years, he sold out and came to Texas, and here a few years, he sold out and came to Texas, and here in Fannin county he began life anew. He built a gin which he conducted successfully in connection with farming operations until 1880, when he sold out and came to Montague county; bought land, erected buildings and made improvements, and here he has since lived, carrying on general farming and stock-raising. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist church, to which his good wife also belonged. She died December 23, 1904. Her father, Mitchell Simmons, was a planter of Louisiana and later of Grayson county, Texas. At the time of his death he was engaged in the hardware business in Savoy, Texas. Mrs. Godley was the second born in her family of eight children, namely: Grisham, Mirom, John, William, Elias, Martha, Mitchell and Mollie. The children of James Godley and wife are: Mrs. Ella Prather, Mrs. Mittie Langford, Mrs. Edna Dozier, Thomas Grisham, Mrs. Matt Armstrong, and Mrs. Inez Moore. Mr. and Mrs. Langford have eight children, viz: James, William, Lilla, Cash, Ed W., Stella, Inez and Mittie.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 337-338.